Two weekends ago, Expo Park (that hotbed of musical and cultural activity) played host to a new pop-heavy music festival, the White Music Festival. Produced by Taiwanese media company Idea Music, the festival boasted a credible lineup of stars including Hebe 田馥甄, Yoga Lin 林宥嘉, Joanna Wang 王若琳, Sammi Cheng 郑秀文 and many others.
Due in part to the pop-idol nature of the artists, the White Music Festival implemented a rather creative two-tiered ticketing system for “fans” and regular attendees, available through the traditional channels (Damai) as well as popular Chinese culture social-networking site Douban. The festival issued 500 fan tickets (粉丝票) at 688 RMB, which included general admission, fan area admission and a festival t-shirt. With a fan ticket, attendees were able to watch the set of their favourite performer from the fans-only area, for the duration of that artist’s set. Like an assembly line, fan ticket holders gathered at the entrance to the cordoned-off area before their idols were set to play. Festival staff ushered them in for the set, and then ushered them out again to make way for the next set of ticketholders. It was guaranteed placement in prime real estate for any ticketholder’s favourite performer. For the rest of the festival, attendees were welcome to enjoy the concerts from the general-admission areas.
For many local music fans, there still exists a vast divide between listening to their favourite artists in the comfort of their own home and braving large, pushy crowds at arena concerts and music festivals. But Chinese fans are also some of the most dedicated and “nao can” (“brain-damaged”) fans of pop idols. Though Radar compatriots Split Works and Wooozy do not usually traffic in Mando- and Cantopop stars, we think that the idea of a special fan ticket, and area for fans is a pretty interesting concept. The overall experience is augmented for all parties involved: fans get to see their favourite stars up close, the performers have the satisfaction of singing to their biggest supporters, and the promoters engender goodwill amongst their audience (and make some extra $$$. A regular presale ticket for the festival was 180 RMB and 250 RMB at the entrance).
And so, the creme-de-la-creme of Mandarin-language music gathered together in Taipei, Taiwan, to celebrate the annual Golden Melody Awards, the Grammy’s of Greater China.
Taiwanese star Chang Hui-mei dominated, winning 6 aards including best song and best album for A-MIT. The artist, more commonly known as A-Mei, was also named best female singer, with the male award going to David Tao. Best band went to Sodagreen.
It seems typical of these big awards ceremonies that entrenched artists still win awards, even when their stars are actually on the wane. In any case, the Golden Melodies are the only real Mandarin Music barometer.
We were quite quick on the uptake, announcing Dylan had plans to tour the region HERE.
However, we seem to have missed the fallout. The Beijinger has done an excellent investigative job on the proposed tour, and you can read all about it HERE.
According to Sun MengJin, one of the foremost Western music champions here in China, Broker Bros were trying to mark up the Dylan shows by 60%. Dylan’s Western agent was looking for US$250k a show, BBH were trying to onsell the shows for US$400k a pop. According to the Beijinger’s translation of Mr. Sun
I mean, how money-driven can you be? Don’t they know about the international standard of maximum 15% for agent fees? 400,000 dollars for the 8,000 seated Shanghai Grand Stage, it’s impossible to make the money back by selling tickets. Those people are whistling ‘blowing in the wind’ while their black hearted money are also blowing with the shit out of their ass. FYI, there will be a day when Dylan is too old to sing.”
BBH have denied the claims and blamed the Shanghai Culture Bureau, who seem to get it in the neck every time there is a problem.
In two completely unrelated bits of news, China’s relationship with Taiwan gets put under a musical spotlight.
First, a Taiwanese promoter refuses to participate in an artist tour previously agreed to, unless the name of the tour changed. Artist X is playing 6 dates on the mainland, and 1 in Taipei. The tour was called “Artist X China Tour 2010″. It is now called “Artist X 2010 tour”. Right.
Second, the two shows in Shanghai’s Mao Livehouse for the Taiwanese band 1976 have been canned by the Shanghai Cultural Bureau due to “not meeting some unspecified rules”.
This seems to be ongoing. We reported on the cancellation of Tizzy Bac’s China appearances last summer HERE and HERE.
Louis Yu, our Taiwan pop culture maven reports in on a real Western/ China collaboration.
Monga (艋舺) is a new movie set in the no-longer area of Monga in Taiwan, where Taiwanese gangster culture used to be popular. Because this movie is set in Taiwan, and gangster films come out of Taiwan only rarely, this film is getting a lot of press right now. The director and cast have been on the chat show/ celebrity roundabout for a while now.
The latest publicity for this film is that it features a single by Dead by Sunrise, side project of Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. Taiwanese press have made a huge deal of how the movie is about old Taiwanese gangster culture, but it features a song from a Western band. All these publicity seems to be playing in favour of the movie as press stress how suitable the song is and how fitting it is to feature this song in the movie. Last week Chester Bennington even held a press conference with the cast and director of Monga
I’ve included a promote clip with scene from the movie and the song from Dead by sunrise.
It seems that Linkin Park is really working at tapping into their market in China. They have big followings in both mainland China and in Taiwan and they are working every angle…
Bob Dylan will tour Greater China and Korea in April 2010. The 60′s folk legend will finally be rewarding his China fans with a fleeting visit:
April 2 Taiwan
April 4 Beijing
April 6 Shanghai
April 8 Hongkong
The Taiwanese promoter is picking up the (very) hefty tab for the whole tour, so we don’t know who they will be using locally. All we know is that if the last time we saw Dylan is anything to go by, he should be paying us…
Taiwanese electronic pop band Tizzy Bac have had their second Chinese appearance in as many months rejected by the Mainland authorities.
The band were due to play the InMusic Festival in early August, then tour China extensively in September 2009. However, due to support of both Tee-betan and Tiy-wanese secession and the imminent 60th Annyversary of our beloved Communist Party, the band will not be coming any time soon.
Sorry loyal readers. Posting has been sporadic. We have been traveling and computer access has been spotty.
We return with a article that could have huge repercussions across China’s entertainment industry. At the 5th cross strait talks between Taiwan and China, China has agreed to allow Taiwanese entertainment companies to invest in the mainland market – venues, media, and music. This could be a significant development for a scene that really needs a kick in the right direction. You can read more HERE